So, you guys want to know about the photo shoot, right?
Oh, you don’t? Sorry, I’m going to tell you anyway, because it was so much fun. (Mostly.)
Upon arriving, I walked down these two sets of stairs to two camera crews and massive flood lights looking straight at me. Oh, hi there. This always happens when I walk into a house.
photo credit: Lee
I put my bags down, met everyone, and the Propel team (brand + agency) asked me to go outside to film some video.
Oh, you want real people? Sure. I just flew 6 hours. You’re definitely getting real Theodora. I basically told them that I really liked to work out, go out with friends and work long a lot/volunteer a lot. All I am can basically be condensed into that one sentence. It’s cool.
After, we met with both Propel and Fathom (the agency) to discuss how the next few days would go down. They sent a really in-depth briefing book ahead of time, so I knew both nothing and everything about the next few days. The basic premise was that there were several different shots they were trying to go for, with each of us serving as the “hero” (or star) of one of them. Okay. Let’s do this.
Day 1: Friday
We woke up, and they took us to Tree People Park to run and start getting some video footage and photos. We took care of some official business and then they told us we could go run a little further…so we did. I think we all got the vibe this would be the only time we’d really get some downtime all weekend just the five of us, so we took the opportunity to get to know each other a little better without cameras around.
Getting lost in Beverly Hills doesn’t suck.
We headed back to the house for a little pool/shower time before the day’s shooting really began.
We shot at Toluca Lake tennis club, and I developed some serious tennis envy. Don’t mind me, I’m just going to go practice my serve while we wait.
Or lounging. I’m real good at that.
Let the games begin. They served us lunch and then brought us for hair, wardrobe and makeup. (The best part of the weekend.)
This is basically more exciting to me than real clothes would be.
The first shot was with Lee as “hero,” and we shot in a spin studio. For. Hours. My poor lady bits.
Next, it was my turn. MAKE ME PRETTY, PLEASE.
Please feed us, thanks.
It truly takes approximately one gazillion people to make each ad you see in a magazine.
It takes special talent to ruin your makeup when you’re just standing there moving slightly to take pictures, but I managed to do so!
After more than 8 hours at the club, I was exhausted and starving and dying to get back to the house to eat and go to sleep immediately.
Day 2: Saturday
For our next trick, we went to the Burbank Athletic Club to shoot. They’d shut down the whole facility just for us, and we had a whole gym to play in all day. So I sat at a table and tried to get some work done on my laptop.
So sunny outside!
There’s tons of downtime on shoots apparently, so I did lots of hanging out while Presley was off doing a shot.
Each day, they had a trainer there to get us all sweaty and ready for our shots (and for us to get in fun workouts), and on Saturday, we all also did some improvising. Lee teaches yoga sculpt, so she took us through a 4-minute thigh burner. I’m waiting for her to make a video, because this was killer. Dai is a man who knows cruel and unusual punishment, and had us do this squat challenge. I still have some PTSD hearing that song.
I should note that on the first day, I showed up with my hair and makeup done, hoping they could just touch them up. After seeing the amount of work they’d do, I figured on Saturday I’d just give them a “blank canvas.”
Before. Banana in hand, obviously.
They gave me full-on sexy beach hair. YESSSSS.
So, on Friday I woke up and texted my trainer: “I feel awesome. I feel hot and ready for this photo shoot – thanks for all of your help mentally and physically.” The most trying part of the photo shoot for me was wardrobe. I carry any extra weight in my midsection, and workout clothing doesn’t always flatter that.
Saturday afternoon, after trying on at least 5 different tops, and having at least 10 people in the dressing room, I started crying when one didn’t work. Let it be known that I am NOT A CRIER. So crying frustrated me even more. I went and sat outside and got a pep talk from Ashley (who was apparently climbing a mountain in Switzerland at the time, NBD), cried it out, came back inside and tried really hard to pretend like nothing had happened…for approximately 10 minutes, until I started joking about myself.
After all that, I really liked the top they put me in. Presley was really sweet throughout all of this, reminding me that nobody would be as critical about how I looked in the ads as I would. I knew she was right, and also knew there was nothing I could do at that point except just own and embrace how I looked. (Oh, and do some push-ups. I did do that.)
By the time my shot was done on Saturday, I was so ready to get back to the house and happy it was over.
Sunday: Day 3!
Even though there were full camera crews (both video and still) both days, we were shooting in gyms, so it didn’t feel quite as weird, since there was at least the gym comfort zone.
Sunday, they brought us to Solar Studios to shoot.
photo: Angi / Fathom
It was a really cool space, with exposed brick. (My dream future dwelling has both exposed brick and built-in bookcases, FYI.)
We were shooting a yoga-themed ad, staring Lee.
They still did full hair and makeup for all of us, because they could be using us for background or for some video footage. I freaking love everything they did with me on Sunday.
I did not get Botox before the shoot, and there is no filter on this picture. Just a damn good makeup artist, and a free facelift, courtesy of my really tight topknot. I would like the makeup artist to please fly to NYC and do my makeup everyday. Thank you. I have also adopted the top knot as my new look.
Oh, and my BFF Gunnar Peterson (we’d met at an event before the holidays) stopped by to train us for a bit. (More on him later.)
After wrapping the print shoot, we had some time for Q&A with Gunnar before heading off to the airport.
No filter can do justice for how tired we were – and how sad we were to leave!
Thank you so much to Propel for believing in me to help represent the brand and to Fathom for bringing all these ideas to life, and a MASSIVE thanks to hair/makeup/wardrobe for making me magazine-ready! I’ll be coming to a newsstand near you in June.